Russia to take back depleted uranium from CERN

25 January 2021

The Russian government has approved an agreement with the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) on the repatriation of depleted uranium belonging to the Russian Federation as part of the L3 detector hadron calorimeter modules.

The document was published on 20 January on the official Internet portal of legal information. Rosatom and Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs are instructed to hold negotiations with CERN and sign the agreement without any fundamental changes. The repatriated depleted uranium will not be used for military purposes.

The L3 detector was part of the Large Electron-Positron collider (LEP) created at CERN, which was dismantled 20 years ago. A plan for the creation of L3 and joint research was signed by CERN and the Soviet Union in 1986, and 212,775 tons of uranium were supplied from the USSR to Switzerland.

The agreement refers to the “final relocation of the L3 detector hadron calorimeter modules from the CERN site in Switzerland, including their transportation from the CERN site to the Russian Federation and subsequent disassembly in order to extract depleted uranium".

It is planned to carry out transportation by December 2022, and disassembly of the modules by December 2024.

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